Sunday, January 29, 2012

Recipe of the week – Burgers

These are so quick and easy to make. They'll be great done the BBQ.

Serves 2

  • 6oz mince
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cheese slices
  • 2 burger buns
  • Tomato ketchup and mustard (optional)

Put the bread into a food mixer and blitz until it’s turned into fine breadcrumbs.

Add the herbs and black pepper. Blitz again for a couple of seconds.

Add the mince and blitz again until everything is combined.

Divide the burger mince into two and form a burger shape. Put on a plate and place in the fridge for ½ hour.

Pre-heat the grill to high then once it's really hot, turn the heat down to medium and cook the burgers, turning them a couple of times, until they are thoroughly cooked or cooked to your liking.

Add the cheese slices to the burgers and return to the grill for a couple of minutes until the cheese has slightly melted.

After cutting the buns in half put a dollop of ketchup and mustard, if using, on each half. Add the burgers and enjoy.

You can also make the burgers using turkey mince. They taste great and are low in fat so you won't feel guilty about eating a burger......

All the weights are in ‘old money’. If you want them in Metric, you’ll have to convert it yourself….

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recipe of the week – Chicken wraps

Extremely quick and so easy to make.

Serves 2

  • Cooked chicken (as much or as little as you like)
  • 1 green pepper, de-seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion (white or red), cut into thin strips
  • Schwartz Fajita Powder
  • Teaspoon of oil
  • 4 wraps

Heat the oil in a large frying over a medium heat. Put the chicken, peppers and onions into the pan and turn the heat up to medium high.

Cook for seven/10 minutes minutes, stirring occasionally. One minutes before the end of cooking shake over the Fajita powder. You’ll need about a dessert spoonful.

Heat the wraps in a microwave according to the instructions on the packet.

Spoon the mix into a warmed bowl and serve.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

NHS time

I had an appointment yesterday at 6.30pm to see my GP. It was just a review of some new painkillers I’d been taken.

The phone rang at five past six. It was the doctors surgery.

“Hi Marie. You have an appointment with Dr Blake today at 6.30pm”.

“That’s correct”, I replied.

“Unfortunately Dr Blake is running an hour and a half late”.

The surgery closes at 7.30pm.

“I can give you an appointment for Friday morning at 10.10am”.

“I’m sorry but that’s no good”, I said.

“Ok, how about ten to seven this evening….”

Try working that one out !!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Recipe of the week – Tangy lemon sponge cake

This cake is made in the same way as the ‘jam sponge, with a twist’.

The eggs, still in their shells, are weighed and whatever it says on the scales, you weigh out that amount of flour, butter and sugar.

So for a two egg cake mix if the two eggs weigh 4 and ¾ oz’s measure out 4 and ¾ oz’s of self-raising flour, caster sugar and butter/margarine. No matter what the eggs weigh always use the same weight for the flour, sugar and butter/margarine.

  • Two eggs
  • Self-raising flour
  • Caster sugar
  • Butter/margarine
  • 1 level tea-spoon of baking powder
  • 1 lemon, grated
  • Lemon curd
  • 4 table-spoons of icing sugar
  • Juice of one lemon or Jiff lemon juice

Line two 7 inch/18cm round cake tin with baking parchment or non-stick liners (Lakeland sell them and they’re brilliant).

Pre-heat oven to 180º c/Gas Mk 4. Fan oven 160ºc

Weigh the eggs, still in their shells remember and whatever the eggs weigh, that’s the amount you’ll need for the flour, sugar and butter/margarine.

Put the sugar, butter/margarine and grated lemon into a bowl. Sift the flour along with the baking power into the bowl then add the two eggs.

Beat well until everything is combined and the mixture is smooth – to the point that it will drop off the spoon when you tap it against the side of the bowl.

Pour the mixture into the cake tins, trying to get the same amount in each tin (I weigh them to make sure). Make a slight well in the centre of each cake. This will stop the centre from rising too much.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Try not to open the oven door during the cooking as this can stop the cakes from rising. If you think that they may be browning too much only open the door when you are past half way into the cooking time.

To check to see if the cakes are cook gently press the surface of the cake you’re your finger. If it springs back it’s cooked. You can also test it by using a skewer (or knitting needle or a piece of spaghetti). Pierce the centre of the cake and if it come out clean then it’s done.

Once the cakes are cool spread the lemon curd over one of the cakes. Try not to get the lemon curd too close to the edge as it will spread naturally to the edge when the other one is put on top of it.

Take the other cake and carefully put it on top off the lemon curd layer.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl to get rid of any lumps. Add a little of the lemon juice or Jiff lemon juice and mix together carefully until the icing is slightly runny but is still quite thick in consistency.

Pour the icing into the centre of the cake and spread it out to the edges. Don’t worry if the icing runs over the sides. Wait until the icing has set before cutting into it.

All the weights are in ‘old money’. If you want them in Metric, you’ll have to convert it yourself….

Saturday, January 07, 2012

David and Goliath

One of the exercises I do at the gym is boxing. Normally it’s with Paul or Scott my personal trainers. However this morning Scott wasn’t in and Paul had to see to an induction, so John was asked if he would like to be my partner.

As I do boxing at home John is used to being my sparing partner so he was quite happy to help.

We were half way through our boxing session in the Kinesis room when a guy came into the room to do some weight training. We got chatting to him and he explained that he was a body builder.

I told him I was impressed with the amount of weights that he was lifting and he replied that he was impressed with my boxing.

“Come and be my sparing partner”, I asked him.
“Ok”, he said, so John handed him the sparing gloves.

After fifteen seconds of me punching the gloves I could see he was finding it uncomfortable.

“Are you ok”, I asked.
“Fine”, he lied.

Another fifteen seconds of me punching the gloves and his face was showing signs of distress.

“Are you sure you’re ok”, I asked, “if it’s hurting I can stop”.
“No, carry on”, he said, through gritted teeth.

A couple more seconds later.
“How long do you normally do this for”, he winced.
“Two minutes”, I said.
The pain on his face said it all….
“I can stop after one minute if you like”, I said.
“Yes pleased”, he pleaded.

“Ten seconds to go”, said John, who was watching the clock.
I always save the best till last so was really hitting the gloves hard.

“Stop”, said John.

“I can’t move my shoulders”, cried the bodybuilder, “my muscles have seized up”.

John had to help take off his gloves as he was in so much pain.

“For being such a small person you really have got some power in those arms of yours”, he said.

It just goes to show that whilst he may have huge muscles and can lift really heavy weights, I can out punch him any day !!!!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A grovelling apology

Back in May when we went on our cruise we experienced Heathrow Airport’s ‘special assistance’ service.

John briefly mentioned some of the problems we’d had in May 20th blog ‘A tale of three airports’. However that wasn’t the end of it. You can read a full account of the farce in ‘Our cruise – part 1’ and ‘Our cruise – part 3’ over on my Joint Journal blog (just click on the link at the side of the page).

I sent a Customer from Hell letter to Heathrow’s customer service manager and received a holding ‘we are looking into your complaint and will get back to you within seven day’s’ letter.

Seven days came and no reply. 14 days came and no reply. 21 days came and no reply. I think you can see where this is going…..

What with one thing and another I’d forgotten about it. It was only when I was sorting through some old correspondences in December that I saw the letter.

I must have been in a bad mood because otherwise I would have just shredded the letter and marked it down as ‘good Heathrow’s customer service’. Instead I did a bit of digging on the internet and found out that the ‘special assistance’ service was operated by a private company.

A letter, enclosing a copy of my original letter and the one I’d received from Heathrow, was sent to the chairman – in Atlanta, America.

As I’d sent the letter on 7th December I wasn’t expecting a reply, if any, until the new year. At 4.45pm on Friday 23rd December I received a phone call from the general manager of Heathrow’s ‘special assistance’ service regarding the letter I’d sent to their chairman.

Boy was he grovelling !!!!!

He assured me that when we next travel our experience of their ‘special assistance’ will be better than last time, and as a way of an apology he would be sending me some flowers.

The flowers duly arrived and they were lovely.

A good job well done by the Customer from Hell…..